Nanaimo non-profits face continuing onslaught of gas thieves

By Spencer Sterritt
August 31, 2018 - 11:16am

Non-profit organizations around Nanaimo say they've tried numerous tactics but gas thieves keep entering their properties and causing damage to their bottom line.File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — There seems to be little Nanaimo non-profit organizations can do to stop people from stealing gas out of their vehicles.

Both the Clay Tree Society and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island said they've tried numerous methods of deterring thieves to sometimes little avail.

Clay Tree Society executive director Glenys Patmore told NanaimoNewsNOW their site in the 800 block of Old Victoria Rd. saw an increase in thefts starting two months ago. Since then, she estimated replacing the fuel and fixing damaged vehicles has cost the organization roughly $2,000.

It's now having a drastic programming impact for the approximately 125 people with developmental disabilities who rely on the society every day.

“We're really monitoring which trips we go on to keep the costs down....questioning if they should go a lot closer to home rather than a large trip to a museum,” Patmore said.

The society keeps the bare minimum of fuel needed in their trucks, requiring daily fill-ups. In recent months they've installed cameras with motion sensors, bought locking gas caps and now positions their vehicles close together with no room to get to the gas cap.

Unfortunately thieves are still finding ways to steal gas from vehicles clearly marked as being for a non-profit organization.

“They'd actually crawled underneath and drilled a hole next to the gas cap,” Patmore said. “It's not like they don't know this is Clay Tree Society.”

In the last two months, Patmore said they've called the Nanaimo RCMP two or three times a week about the issue.

“To keep calling the RCMP, to have them come down to see a hole in the fence and say 'You're doing everything you should do' is really disheartening.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island had some success by impounding their vehicles and fully locking some sites, though it's not a solution which works for all locations.

“It comes in waves,” licensed program supervisor Amanda Daly told NanaimoNewsNOW. “You can park differently, get locking gas caps...however where there's a will there's a way.”

Daly said the financial impact is tough but it's the impact to the children which hits hardest.

“Money having to be used somewhere else, for something almost out of our control, really hurts our organizations,” she said. “We want to be able to continue to offer kids experiences they might not otherwise have. Whether it's craft supplies or books, a little bit here and a little bit there, not having that extra money for those things really hurts the program.”


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